Blooming Grove Lions
Coach: Matt Anderson
Years at school, record: 8, 80-50-3
2012 record: 12-9-1, 7-5 in 14-2A
Last playoff appearance: 2012, bi-district finalists
Key returnees: 3B/P Shane Battenfield, Sr.; P/1B Jacob Conger, Sr.; P/3B Dalton Blake, So; P/SS Daniel Pelzel, Jr.
Key losses: C/P Gage Anderson, OF Spencer Morris
Analysis: The Lions returned to the playoffs last year for the first time since 2009, falling to Palmer in the first round ... Defense should be Blooming Grove’s strength this year ... Pelzel didn’t make an error last year at shortstop as a sophomore and also had 0.84 ERA pitching in relief ... Battenfield, all-district pick, made only two errors at third base and also had a 4-2 record with a 2.76 ERA ... Team speed should be improved with the addition of Travis Whiteside and Jacob Williams ... Whiteside will leadoff and play center field after catching in sub-varsity ... Blake had a superb freshman season with a .300 batting average while also going 3-3 on the mound with a 3.87 ERA ... Conger batted .317 last season.
Coach: Aaron Tidwell
Years at school, record: 5, 93-35
2012 record: 17-13, 10-2 in 14-2A
Last playoff appearance: 2012, regional quarterfinalists
Key returnees: P/SS Nic Shimonek, Sr..; 3B/P Connor Hill; OF Raleigh Seilheimer, Jr.; 1B Jase Butler, Jr.; 2B Colby Pair, Jr.; C/INF Allen Knight, Jr.; DH/P Clay Waller, Jr.
Key losses: C Daniel Folsom, IF Daniel Donoho, OF Mason Rose, P/3B Eric Lewis
Analysis: The Eagles as always are a playoff contender ... Shimonek is the leader now, coming off of a 2012 season in which he was the 14-2A MVP ... he batted .463 with 3 HRs, 10 2Bs, 5 3Bs and 32 RBIS and was selected Golden Circle Offensive Player of the Year ... Shimonek also was 9-3 with 1.29 ERA and 77 strikeouts ... there are three All-Golden Circle picks to replace ... Seilheimer batted .333 with 19 RBIs and 14 SBs ... Hill, Butler and Pair were all all-district selections.